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Bad Weather Increases Pain of Holiday Travel

Transportation: Fog causes delays for those heading home from LAX.

November 27, 2000|From Associated Press

Busy airports, congested roads and trains, and wet, foggy weather in some parts of the country made the trip home that much longer for Thanksgiving travelers Sunday, one of the busiest travel days of the year.

Fog caused delays of at least one hour at Los Angeles International Airport, while fog at San Francisco International Airport forced the cancellation of 20 flights and delayed others up to 2 1/2 hours.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a National Ground Delay for LAX at 4:30 p.m., meaning incoming flights as well as some outgoing flights were being delayed at least 60 minutes, said LAX spokeswoman Nancy Castles. The ground delay would remain in effect until midnight Sunday or whenever the fog lifted, she said.

Castles said 205,000 passengers were expected to pass through LAX on Sunday, up from the estimated 195,000 to 200,000 on the day a year ago.

With the Air Transport Assn. predicting a record 2.24 million passengers nationwide, airport officials across the nation had prepared for the worst.

Sleet and freezing rain affected travelers in New England, and delays at Logan International Airport in Boston were averaging two hours Sunday night.

It was easy sailing for other travelers despite the threat of cancellations due to labor strife. Mechanics for United Airlines and Northwest Airlines, which also had some delays and cancellations, are seeking new labor contracts.

United Airlines said there had been 66 cancellations--49 of them related to maintenance--out of 2,300 flights systemwide.

No major delays were reported at airports in Miami, Atlanta and Seattle.

United Shuttle pilot Eric Petersen was glad he was in uniform and not civilian clothes as he reported to work at LAX on Sunday.

"I'd rather work these busy holidays than fly them as a passenger," he said. "At least that way I know I have a seat."

Sleet and freezing rain contributed to more than 60 accidents--some with serious injuries--on the Maine Turnpike, Interstate 295 and other major highways.

Amtrak spokeswoman Cecilia Cummings said there were no major delays or problems on its rail lines.

"We've taken precautions," she said. "In the northeast alone, we added 40 extra trains to our service."

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